The following outlines the organisational structure for Shadowplay International as it currently stands:
Storytellers exist to run the clubs’ games – they create or assist in creating storylines for players to tell through their characters (PCs) and to portray and control the non-player characters that flesh out the game setting that they oversee.
Venue Storytellers (VSTs) run individual games within a domain. Their duties are to run regular games for their venue (typically monthly although the periodicity of games should be specified in the venue style sheet), overseeing the storylines and characters within that game. They also act as Low Approver for any approval applications players might put through for their characters, as well as submitting their own venue Approvals as needed to support their planned storylines. VSTs are expected to submit monthly reports to their DST advising of overall venue story developments, volunteer EXP records and any rules queries they might have to make sure their DST is informed of local game related events and information.
VSTs serve for one year, chosen by an election voted on by all members of the domain. In the case of a vacancy due to unexpected circumstances (a VST stepping down early, extraordinary removal from the position, etc), a special election will be held to determine a replacement VST.
Domain Storytellers (DSTs) coordinate the stories being told in the venues their domain supports, as well as acting as immediate oversight and assistance to the VSTs within a domain. DST duties include running domain-wide plots, coordinating gameplay between venues within the domain, and acting as Mid Approver for approval applications. Where issues of unclear VST oversight occur within a domain, the DST acts as the overseeing ST. DSTs are expected to submit bi-monthly reports to the OST (which are to be made available to the GST team) regarding domain plot events and approval notes, volunteer EXP records and rules queries to keep the global team appraised of local game related events and information.
DSTs serve for one year, chosen by an election voted on by all members of the domain. In the case of a vacancy due to unexpected circumstances, a special election will be held to determine a replacement DST.
Genre Storytellers (GSTs) have oversight of specific genres globally – typically one genre per GST, however the determination of how genres are allocated/grouped for the purposes of assigning roles is a duty of the Board of Directors, at the suggestion of the OST. GSTs duties include acting as advisor to DSTs and VSTs regarding the genre(s) they oversee, developing plotkits and stories that have regional or global scope in conjunction with the OST and other GSTs, overseeing genre-specific global non-player characters (NPCs) and developing the addenda for their genre(s) in coordination with the OST. GSTs act as High Approver for approval applications. GSTs are expected to submit quarterly reports to the OST regarding approval notes and overall concerns and rules queries and addenda suggestions for the genres they oversee, to better retain records of the evolution of the game chronicle the club maintains.
GSTs serve for two years and are voted on by all members of the club. In the case of a vacancy due to unexpected circumstances, a special election will be held to determine a replacement GST. GSTs are not permitted to hold other global-level roles.
The Organisational Storyteller (OST) is the highest level storyteller authority within SPI. They coordinate and oversee all club-wide storylines, as well as “dark places” (in-game events occurring outside the territories of any domain) and assist GSTs where they require help. Global NPCs that fall outside the scope of any GST are the purview of the OST. The OST acts as the Top Approver for the purposes of approval applications. The OST also serves as a member of the Board of Directors, and in that capacity supplies proposals relating to storyteller issues that relate to the Board’s scope of operations. The OST supplies the Board and the general membership with quarterly reports regarding the overall shape of the club’s game, including genre concerns, approvals and the state of the addenda.
The OST serves a two year term and is voted on by all members of the club. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, a special election will be held to determine a replacement OST.
What Storytellers Are and Are Not
The role of ST specifically relates to the running of in-game events – those being elements of setting, story and rules calls. STs are not specifically mediators of conflicts between players that fall outside of that scope, nor are they expected to arrange the logistics of the domain. Assisting with these things may be a function of good natured storytelling, however these are not considered duties of the role.
SPI administrators act as logistical staff for the club. There are two tiers of administrator roles – local and global. The interactions of these level of staff is most simply explained by the following diagram:
Local administrators are typically represented in the form of Domain Administrators (DAs), however occasionally a DA may require the assistance of a Venue Administrator (VA) for specific venues that require additional support.
DAs are responsible for the logistics of running a domain. This typically includes facilitating new membership registration, securing game times and locations (along with alerting the local membership of any rules regarding said locations), maintaining the domain schedule and managing domain resources – including the domain’s online presence and any local outreach efforts. The DA also serves as the returning officer in all domain-level elections excepting that of the DA role, overseeing the processes of keeping the local membership informed regarding election dates as well as maintaining the integrity of the election process itself. In domains that operate with a live online presence, such as through Discord or other communication media, DAs act as the local administrator for such systems. DAs are expected to submit a bi-monthly report to the global administration team regarding domain logistical concerns, election results, advertising support and so on.
DAs serve for a one year term and are voted on by all members of a domain. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, a special election will be held to determine a replacement DA.
VAs are not a required role, however where issues of unclear logistical requirements are identified (such as the creation of a new venue for a game genre that is relatively new) a VST may ask their DA to elect a VA to provide a period of close assistance and investigative administration regarding club requirements for supporting the venue. VAs are expected to provide the DA with a monthly report of any logistical concerns regarding the venue they are assigned to.
VAs serve a six month term, and are typically a non-repeating role – however the DA has discretion to run an extension election if additional support or investigation is required after the initial term of a VA. In the event of an unexpected vacancy, the VST and DA together shall determine if a special election is required.
The global administration team is split into three roles – Organisational, Technical and Financial. All three are required for good function of the club, supporting the DAs in the areas that they each oversee, and all three serve as members of the Board of Directors in addition to their specific duties.
The Organisational Administrator (OA) serves as oversight for issues of membership management. In that capacity they oversee the registration process and make sure player membership records are up to date, as well as oversee all DA elections and global elections, and keeping track of position-holders who are failing to uphold their reporting requirements. The OA also acts as the main oversight and planning administrator for club advertising and promotional content. The OA serves as a member of the Board of Directors, and in that capacity supplies proposals relating to the duties of their role where such proposals need review or additional input. The OA supplies the Board and the general membership with quarterly reports regarding the activity and elections of the club.
The OST serves a two year term and is voted on by all members of the club. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, a special election will be held to determine a replacement OA.
The Technical Administrator (TA) serves as oversight and support related to IT issues – the design and implementation of club systems, ongoing support of those systems and legal concerns related to the club’s online activities. In this capacity they serve as the club’s wiki and website administrator and also oversees any issues of online document distribution, copyright concerns and so on. The TA serves as a member of the Board of Directors, and in that capacity supplies proposals and advice to other staff members regarding the issues of online and electronic activity. The TA supplies the Board and general membership with quarterly reports regarding the club’s electronic systems and concerns that the club needs to be aware of.
Unlike other roles, the TA is not elected – rather they are appointed by the Board of Directors itself on behalf of the club. Club members wishing to apply for the role must submit their technical qualifications and any work experience related to the role, and the Board will select a TA based on the most qualified applicant. TAs serve two year terms, at which time the Board will review their appointment and may opt to open up the position to new applications. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, the Board will open up the position to replacement applications.
The Financial Administrator (FA) serves as oversight of club finances and financial planning – providing both advice for the various club domain administrators on the best ways to raise money as needed and oversight of the overall cost requirements that the club operates at. The FA serves as a member of the Board of Directors, and in that capacity advises the other members of the Board regarding any financial concerns or plans the club may have. The FA supplies the Board and general membership with quarterly reports regarding the club’s finances and related concerns.
The FA serves a two year term and is voted on by all members of the club. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, a special election will be held to determine a replacement FA.
What Administrators Are and Are Not
Administrators oversee the logistical issues related to their specific purview. They are not expected to act as mediators, nor are they expected to fill in for ST staff. Assisting with these things may occur as a part of good natured support, however these are not considered duties of the role.
Any role listed above may appoint an assistant to provide ongoing assistance related to a specific sub-element of their role. Assistants are not final authorities on anything related to the role however, and are expected to clearly inform the role they assist of any actions they have taken and confirm the correct course of action with the role holder where such may be unclear. Assistants are designated by the role abbreviation followed by a lower case “a” (ie: a VST’s assistant is a VSTa, the FA’s assistant is a FAa).
A number of roles fall outside the storytelling and administration capacities. These serve to fulfil auxiliary functions of the club and provide an independent viewpoint to certain club concerns.
Arbiters are club members that have undergone the required qualification to serve in an arbitration capacity for the club. Any club member may hold an Arbiter qualification, however current Board members are not permitted to act in an Arbiter capacity for the duration of their term. Where a grievance between club members cannot be resolved, the Board will randomly assign three Arbiters from domains unrelated to the grievance to act as a tribunal to collect information related to the issue, deliberate and then respond with a resolution action. This procedure is intended to minimise conflicts of interest or issues of nepotism, as well as potential social pressure any Arbiter may feel to lean in a particular direction on the issue. Once an Arbiter tribunal has completed their decision, a summary report of the information gathered and the decision shall be submitted to the OA for record keeping purposes and the tribunal will be dissolved.
Independent Members of the Board
In addition to the OST, the OA, the TA and the FA, three Independent Members of the Board (IMotB) are to be elected from the general membership. These three members act as additional oversight on any issues raised to the Board for consideration, providing non-partisan input on the issues that the Board oversees. Wherever possible, each member should be from a different domain to better represent a broader spread of membership viewpoints.
IMotBs serve a two year term and is voted on by all members of the club. In the case of an unexpected vacancy, a special election will be held to determine a replacement IMotB.
The Board of Directors
As laid out above, SPI is overseen by a “Board of Directors” comprised of the OST, the OA, the TA, the FA and three IMotBs. The Board’s responsibility is to ensure that SPI is functioning healthily and as intended – as a hobby club for both LARP and online roleplaying. Duties of the Board include periodically reviewing the club’s overall structure to determine if it is functioning properly and/or fostering a positive club culture, creating and maintaining the club’s legal status, maintaining general oversight of the club’s information flows and handling such issues that arise that are not covered explicitly or implicitly by other staff positions, or that are so impactful that it fundamentally alters the experience the club provides to its members. While individual members of the Board may maintain roles related to day-to-day running of the club, the Board’s role is not to micromanage those concerns – rather, the Board serves to make sure that these roles are acting appropriately and allow those members of staff to refer issues that might have a larger impact than just the scope of their own role to larger oversight.
What the Board Is and Is Not
It is not the purpose of the Board to run roughshod over its members or the membership. Rather the Board is expected to consider the suggestions and input of its members (on behalf of the membership) and vote based on the options laid out. Where no options laid out are viewed as acceptable or appropriate, suggestions may be referred to the relevant member for further development and a later vote. Where required, the Board should also refer issues of major change (ie, new chronicle premises, club reorganisation, etc) to a club consensus vote where each Domain Administrator runs a domain-level vote on the issue, and then the total votes on the issue are tallied by the Board.